Posted by May 7, 2015 in Blogson
Salsa? Merengue? No, you’re not reading a gourmet menu– these are popular genres of Latin dance! Learn about some of the different styles of Latin Dance that we teach here at Elite.
A derivative of more classical Latin dances, salsa became popularized in 1970s New York. Much like salsa music, salsa dance owes much to Cuban culture but as with most modern Latin dances it has adopted influences from many other genres. Salsa is based on a simple foundation: hip and leg motions performed to eight-beat music, with pauses on the fourth beats and very little movement around the dance floor. Improvisation is encouraged and dancers learn to punctuate their routines with individual “solos” that integrate seamlessly.
High-tempo, fun and an easy learning curve make salsa dancing extremely accessible to all ages and skill levels.
With murky origins in the dictator-led, slave labour economy of 1930s Dominican Republic, the merengue is an enigmatic dance that takes many forms. One of the few rules of modern merengue is a “closed” dancing stance with partners holding each other intimately, broken only by moments of embellishment and turns or spins from either partner. Also, a merengue dancer must keep their upper body graceful and still– despite the frantic leg movements required to keep beat with the music. Choreography and standard moves are taught in class, but true merengue is improvised.
Challenging and intimate, the merengue is the perfect activity for a dance pair or couple looking to take their skills to the next level.
Another dance with Dominican roots, the authentic bachata is a basic eight-beat routine danced within a square area with few variations. Modern bachata incorporates turns, spins and syncopation (steps between beats)– but focuses on dips and hip-popping movements to accentuate even further simplified steps. As with most classical dances popularized throughout the current era, bachata’s simple movements are a blank canvas for complexity and flair adopted from other forms of
dance such as salsa, tango… even hip-hop!
Bachata is often seen as a sensual dance, but its versatility makes it a good match for anyone with passion and desire for rhythmic movement. Extremely adaptable and customizable, you might consider bachata if you have a hard time settling on just one genre of dance.
There are many other Latin dances besides the salsa, merengue and bachata– almost too many to list! We offer those mentioned and more here at Elite Dance Studio, with classes suitable for all ages and skill levels. Fast-paced and fun, Latin dance is an easy entry point for anyone hesitant about dance. With the energy and passion in Latin dance styles and our experienced instructors, we can bring la passion out of any wallflower!